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From the dressing room to the office: what supply chain managers can learn from football teams

Jul 3, 2024 // Caroline Kronenwerth

football and supply chain management

What do a football tournament, such as the European Championship, and supply chain management have in common? Their success factors are timeless: it's all about strategy, teamwork, flexibility, optimisation and risk management.

Accordingly, it is worth taking a closer look at the characteristics of successful football teams. Recognising and building on strengths while eliminating weaknesses is a core task of the coach. While coaches often have to rely on their gut feeling, intelligent business software makes it easier to make the right decisions in supply chain management. In the following article, you can find out where its use is particularly worthwhile and what supply chain managers can learn from it. 

Strategy and clear processes in supply chain management

The right strategy is crucial in both football and supply chain management. For the German national football team, under national coach Julian Nagelsmann, the 2024 European Championship is all about clear processes and perfect organisation. The same applies to companies that don't want to leave anything to chance in their supply chain. When is the best time to place an order? Which items should the warehouse be stocked with? How can smooth production be ensured? Like a coach, intelligent software helps companies to better answer these and other questions relating to supply chain management. It provides the necessary transparency and foresight to make smart strategic decisions. In addition, it offers monitoring and control options that ensure smooth processes and forms the basis for outstanding teamwork. This increases planning reliability for the entire company.

Teamwork and tactics in supply chain management

Success is based on teamwork and tactics. In football, the team must function as a unit, from the goalkeeper to the striker. It is similar in supply chain management, where the synergy between sales, purchasing and production is crucial. In many companies, however, this is precisely where there is a lack of synergy. The consequences: Meetings lack structure and clear objectives, work-related information is missing and existing data is scattered and outdated. Intelligent business software brings together the information from the individual departments, the players, and thus creates a standardised information basis. It networks the knowledge and experience of all those involved, makes complex interrelationships visible and ensures that all departments can work together seamlessly with reliable forecasts. This strategic coordination of the various players is just as important in sport as it is in supply chain management.

Flexibility and adaptability in supply chain management

The unpredictability of a football tournament, such as the European Championship, is captivating. Who will score the first goal? What happens if a striker drops out? In supply chain management, this unpredictability means stress. How will sales develop? Will production be able to meet growing demand? How likely is it that my supplier will deliver on time? This is where intelligent planning software can help, as it not only automates standard processes and pools important information, but also provides precise, forward-looking recommendations for action. It acts like an experienced midfielder who strategically coordinates the departments, promotes cooperation and the exchange of information and brings certainty to planning. This reduces complexity and increases agility, which is particularly beneficial in unpredictable situations.

Performance evaluation and continuous improvement in supply chain management

After every game, the football team analyses its performance in order to exploit strengths and counter weaknesses. In supply chain management, companies monitor the performance of their supply chain. Are deliveries to customers being made on time and in the right quantity and quality? Are current transport costs in line with budget targets? Is production capacity sufficient to meet current demand? These analyses can be used to optimise processes and implement necessary adjustments. Intelligent software provides support by collating information, analysing data on a daily basis, proactively identifying potential for improvement and deriving the measures to be taken. In this way, it promotes improved collaboration both internally and with external partners.

Risk management in the supply chain

Just as a football coach assesses risks before every game, such as the loss of a top player, and develops strategies to minimise risks, companies in the supply chain must also identify risks and develop strategies to minimise them. What are the consequences of a supplier failure? What do I need to be aware of if demand suddenly increases or production is unexpectedly delayed? The answers to such questions are so complex today that they can hardly be answered by human expertise alone. Intelligent business software helps to master this complexity with decision intelligence. Measures can be derived and realised faster and more precisely on the basis of facts. Managers are no longer forced to rely solely on their intuition or instinct. The software's automatic recommendations for action are generally designed in such a way that they can be implemented immediately to create added value. In this way, the software, like the coach in the game, keeps an overview, warns of critical situations at an early stage and provides well-founded solutions to successfully meet challenges of any kind.

Conclusion: Companies can learn from football teams and increase their success with intelligent business software

In both football and supply chain management, strategy, teamwork, flexibility, optimisation and risk management are essential for success. Intelligent software solutions provide the necessary support to manage these factors effectively. They create transparency, improve collaboration, increase adaptability and provide valuable insights for continuous improvement of business processes. By learning from the best practices of successful football teams and combining them with modern technologies, companies can sustainably optimise their supply chains and increase their competitiveness.

How do you make sure your supply chain doesn't get sidelined?

Find out here how you can become a successful supply chain champion with our intelligent business software!

About our Expert

Caroline Kronenwerth

Caroline Kronenwerth has been working as PR Manager at INFORM since 2021 and focuses on trends and topics related to optimizing processes in supply chain management and simplifying inventory.

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